The Prostitute Oriki, Her Secret Lover and a Sleeping Cat
9 July 2018 

The Prostitute Oriki, Her Secret Lover and a Sleeping Cat

In this well-known design from the Hana ikada series by Kuniyoshi a man cautiously approaches his female lover while observing the cat behind them. The following dialogue ensues, ‘Is Oriki really Sleeping? She asked me to come, and yet she’s already asleep. I bet she’s just pretending (literally ‘racoon-dog sleeping’). We’ll soon see which it is.’¬†Oriki murmurs, ‘He was so late turning up that I pretended to be asleep, but that hasn’t stopped him.’

The prostitute Oriki and her secret lover ‘ (c.1836) from the series ‘Flowers with Abundant Benefits (Hana ikada)

Joke

They joke about how much he has to pay her, suggesting that she is a prostitute but that this is her secret lover rather than a client (erotic depiction of prostitutes are typically such scenarios). They end up exchanging a passionate kiss.¬†The peacefulness of the sleeping cat is beautifully counterbalanced by the restlessness of the couple. This was a popular design at the time since it also appears in Kuniyoshi‘s Hana goyomi.

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Source: ‘Shunga, Erotic Art in Japan‘ by Rosina Buckland

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About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
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